A lady put salt in her coffee.

Or at least that’s the way the story goes. Not on purpose, mind you, but intending to sweeten her morning drink, she destroyed it.

The lady, Mrs. Peterkin, rallied her family for help. They turned to a chemist who conducted experiments to remove the salt from the coffee and an “herb-woman” who eventually declared the coffee bewitched.

“Then the family were in despair, and all sat and thought a great while. It was growing late in the day, and Mrs. Peterkin hadn’t had her cup of coffee. At last Elizabeth Eliza said, ‘They say that the lady from Philadelphia, who is staying in town, is very wise. Suppose I go and ask her what is best to be done.’ To this they all agreed, it was a great thought, and off Elizabeth Eliza went.”

The wise woman from Philadelphia was able to help, but not at all in the way that Mrs. Peterkin expected or wanted.

This short story is one of my favorites and comes to my mind several times a week, usually when I’m trying to help people with poisoned marriages. There is hope for your marriage. I promise that what has been poisoned can be restored.

Joel 2:25 talks about how God shows willingness to restore the “years that the locusts have eaten.” Hosea 2:15 is about a lover who believes that even the “Valley of Trouble” itself can transform into a “Door of Hope.” Like the lady who put salt in her coffee, and her family who began to despair, you need an outside voice with a completely fresh perspective.

1. Borrow my hope.

I know what it feels like to lose hope for a healthy, thriving marriage. I’ve written this simply to give you reason to doubt the inevitability of divorce.

2. Listen to new voices.

Like Mrs. Peterkin’s chemist, your friends haven’t helped you. When my wife, Brooke, and I went through our “Valley of Trouble” one of the most powerful things we did was eliminate all voices that weren’t pro-marriage.

3. Reach out for help.

Our newest sermon series, Better Together, at Valley Life will be about how the gospel can save a marriage. Our entire church is on standby to help anyone willing to ask. No matter how bad it is. No matter how long it’s been this bad.

I know you’ve tried to get help before. I know it feels like there is no answer for your problem. Brooke and I had been on all the retreats, conferences, counseling sessions, workbooks, and accountability groups you can think of until we fought our way to health.

If you want help, but aren’t able to be a part of the service this Sunday, please reach out to me. I’m really easy to get in touch with.

Brian Bowman

Brian Bowman

Brian Bowman is the pastor of Valley Life | Tramonto, the first Valley Life Church planted in 2012. He planted his first NAMB church in 2004 in Portland, OR. Brian also writes for the Send Network Blog and Acts 29.